Is Solar and Advanced Energy Technology Taking Off in Texas?

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Solar and advanced energy is alive and well in Texas

Solar and Advanced Energy Technology – New Report ( Solar Thermal Magazine)

The advanced energy industry is a powerful economic driver in Texas, with an estimated $16 billion in 2014 revenue, according to the first comprehensive analysis of the advanced energy market in the state.

Representing 8 percent of the total U.S. market for advanced energy technologies and products, Texas advanced energy revenue of $16 billion would be enough to buy the Dallas Cowboys, the NFL’s most valuable franchise, five times over.

The report, Advanced Energy in Texas, is available for download at texasadvancedenergy.org.

Advanced Energy in Texas was commissioned by the Texas Advanced Energy Business Alliance (TAEBA), a new group on the Texas scene. TAEBA is made up of local and national advanced energy companies doing business in Texas and helping the Lone Star State meet its energy challenges. A complete list of companies participating in TAEBA is available at texasadvancedenergy.org.

Though well known as the center of the traditional oil and gas industry, Texas is also home to a growing advanced energy industry in areas such as wind and solar energy, natural gas electricity generation, and energy efficiency measures that save money for building owners and manufacturers.

The report gives much of the credit for advanced energy growth in Texas to the state’s pro-business, pro-growth spirit combined with deliberate policy structures, including renewable energy and energy efficiency standards, as well as the nation’s most open and competitive market for energy resources, managed by the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT).

Advanced energy is defined as a broad category of technologies and products, and it is made up of seven major segments. In Texas, building efficiency is the largest segment, with $5.4 billion in revenue in 2014. Products and services such as building efficiency improvements, efficient lighting, high efficiency HVAC equipment, and demand response are significant contributors to this segment of the industry. The second largest segment, at $3.6 billion in 2014, is made up of advanced electricity generation technologies such as wind, solar, and natural gas.

Other findings include:

Electricity Generation: With $3.6 billion in revenue, electricity generation (such as wind, natural gas, solar, geothermal, biomass, etc.) is the second leading advanced energy segment in the state.

Fuel Production: Advanced fuels, including compressed and liquefied natural gas for vehicles, make up Texas’s third largest advanced energy segment, with $2.7B in revenue.

Natural gas vehicles, hybrid vehicles, and the fueling infrastructure that supports them contributed to $2.3 billion in advanced Transportation revenue in Texas.

Wind: Texas has more than 14 GW of wind power – twice the capacity of California – with an additional 10 GW of wind in the pipeline.
Natural Gas: With nearly 70 GW of capacity currently, Texas natural gas power generation is projected to fulfill over 4.5 GW of growth over the next two to three years.

Energy Storage: With potential to end a range of electricity system problems and inefficiencies – fluctuating demand, idle capacity, variable resources, minute-to-minute frequency control – and steep cost reductions anticipated, energy storage is now within reach.

“Advanced energy is alive and well in Texas,” said Susan Reilly, president of Renewable Energy Systems Americas, Inc. (RES Americas), and current chair of the American Wind Energy Association. RES Americas and its many Texas projects are profiled in the report.

Texas is the nation’s leader in wind energy, today and going forward – just look at what’s in the pipeline. RES Americas is proud of the wind and solar installations we’ve worked on in Texas and we look forward to many more in the future.

“Solar is taking off in Texas,” said Jim Hughes, CEO of First Solar, a global provider of photovoltaic solar energy solutions.

Our Barilla Solar project is the first solar power plant in the country to offer electricity on an open contract basis, and it illustrates how solar has become a reliable, competitively priced component in the state’s balanced energy portfolio. We see an enormous growth opportunity for solar in Texas.

Along with the Barilla power plant, First Solar has several other projects in various stages of development in Texas.

“CLEAResult is tapped into Texas’ energy market—not only because we’re headquartered in Austin—because we’ve run close to 20,000 projects across the state since 2006 that have delivered significant energy and incentive impacts. The appetite for energy efficiency is here,” said Michele Negley, vice president of the south region for CLEAResult, an energy efficiency consulting firm. (A CLEAResult employee was interviewed for the report.)

Energy efficiency is a powerful tool for economic growth and diversification of resources. Our research as well as TAEBA’s report, indicate there is great potential to help utilities, businesses and individual Texans save money and improve comfort by making the wise use of energy a way of life.

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